In the territory controlled by the 6th Brigade, fighting between the Revolutionary Joint Forces led by the local Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Military Council, has intensified since the end of last year.
Heavy bombardment by the regime’s air force has forced thousands of local residents to flee their homes.
“ There have been bombardments by warplanes, and artillery targeting the villages. Yesterday they bombed villages. This means that clashes can break out in places where there was no war before. We can’t tell the exact number of displaced people, but we estimate that there will be more than ten thousand”, Saw Khe Lay, deputy-in-charge of the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People(CIDKP), which is helping the people fled the war, told KIC.
Displaced people who fled the war are in urgent need of food and medicine, as well as warm clothes and blankets, in order to survive the cold weather. CIDKP reported that that the refugees worse affected are: mothers of newborns, pregnant women, children and the elderly.
“Some of them go and take refuge in orchards in the forest by themselves, so I can’t say exactly what kind of difficulties they have.”
“Of course the weather is very cold, so it is extremely difficult for the elderly and children. Almost all the surrounding villages are fleeing the war, so it is difficult to help each other”, a female internally displaced person (IDP) told KIC.
From December 31st 2022 to January 5th 2023, fighting raged in the area of the KNU 6th Brigade, and the Military Council carried out airstrikes almost every day. Currently residents of 10 villages in KNU’s Win Yay (Waw Ray) township, villages around Kyainseikgyi township and villages between Kyainseikgyi-Payathonzu, have been forced to abandon their homes due to the fierce battles in the region.
More than 2000 residents from at least 10 villages, including Kawk Nwe and Ywar Thit Kone, around Kawkareik, are still fleeing the war due to the recent fighting in the south of Kawkareik township.
Saw Khe Lay told KIC that according to CIDKP’s statistics, there is a total of more than 400,000 IDPs fleeing the war in southeastern Myanmar, including the KNU’ s Dooplaya district, the area of the KNU 6th Brigade.